Media and Museum

Paul Mortimer, Ian Weston and members of Wulfheodenas at Sutton Hoo June 2010.

Media and Museum

remaking the Sutton Hoo stone

The Ansell-Roper Replica and its Context
Paul Mortimer & Stephen Pollington

The 7th century ship burial at Sutton Hoo contains many enigmatic objects, none more so than the beautifully-worked stone with metal fittings. It is often referred to as a ‘sceptre’ or ‘whetstone’ but it may be neither.

The techniques used in making the stone and fitments display exceptional craftsmanship. The making of a museum quality replica stone has provided new information and fresh insights which may help us answer many of the questions that have been asked about this beautiful and puzzling object.

Steve Pollington and Paul Mortimer’s new publication is available from


BOURNE HALL Viking event 12th Jan 2013

(Video by kind permission of

Link to full article here Viking lessons

View the poster Vicious Viking Ian 2013

The Portals to the Past team regularly provide history specialists at museums throughout the UK and are involved in film and TV productions…… from Braveheart, Gladiator, Robin Hood, Horrible Histories to documentaries. From keynote speakers to dramatised history presentations, our team are only too happy supply your needs. We hope you enjoy the selection of photos and clips from this work. Click on the photos below for a larger version.

 Visit Scraptoft Valley Primary School, Leicestershire’s website for picyure from their recent Medieval day.

class pages

“Visit Caister Juniors, Norfolk’s website and see pictures of our workshops in action – Romans Vikings and Egyptians”

Video Clips with Dan ShadrakeHorrible Histories and Back from the Dead.

Portals are pleased to have been part of Gareth’s new series on Primary Education.

Dr Kevin Leahy,  National Finds Adviser from the Portable Antiquities Scheme with members of Wulfheodenas at Kelmarsh.
Steve Pollington, Paul Mortimer, Ian Weston, Mark Halls and Stuart Davies are all members of Wulfheodenas.

A selection of photos from film work

Robin Hood



Horrible Histories Series 3

Please click on the images below for a bigger version as well as descriptions.


Award ceremony at the War and Peace Show

“Over 400 entries poured in for a chance to win one of the eleven categories for the WWII Re-enactment Magazine ’Best of the Best’ 2011 Awards.
Hosted at the Ginger Gammon Bar by Viv the Spiv the wards were presented by Rex Cadman, The War and Peace Show owner. To kick start the awards ceremony the first category was for best contribution to schools for which Bunty and Richard Bowring took the accolade. Another group ‘Battle for Europe’ to which Bunty and Richard belong took two other awards”  
Photographs provided by Ade Pitman Photography


Clive Stacy Colchester Castle – Entertaining and engaging – Portals to the Past are an excellent group who take visitors back ….

Birmingham Museum


Stuart entertaining the crowds waiting to see the Staffordshire hoard at Birmingham Museum

Staffordshire Potteries Museum

Paul, Ian, Mark, and Stuart at the opening of the Staffordshire Hoard exibition at Staffordshire Potteries Museum

Sutton Hoo

Paul, Ian, Mark and Stuart at Sutton Hoo


Cranford Park Academy, Middlesex
I would like to express our earnest appreciation to Dan for facilitating our Greek workshop conducted last term for our year 3 children.

As I am not class based I am lucky enough to see many of the workshops that come to the schools I have worked in. As I am myself am a massive history geek, I find myself often disappointed with history workshops\' knowledge of the little details around the subjects they focus on. This was not the case with Dan, in fact I found myself, along with the children, lost in the learning process. The activities successfully excited, while still educated our children. The children now delight in telling each other the information from the workshop and in the playground I heard many of them retelling stories to their parents at home time.

They have been inspired by this workshop, some are even interested in becoming Spartan warriors as their career someday.

Hodnet, Shropshire
Just a quick follow up to our workshop with Dominic Russell.

We were pleased to see our workshop leader was the same historian as two years previously.

He ran the day wonderfully. The children were fully engaged and still talking about their day on Friday.

His manner was perfect for the age group with a super balance of educational facts alongside the humour and gore which appeals to the age group.

They all loved the Beowulf play as did the staff. We all smiled our way through the day!

Worthing Prep, Sussex
Just to say a huge thank you to Jack and yourself for Friday’s Romans workshop. The children absolutely loved it and the parent feedback has been excellent. He did a great job! Our children have learnt so much.

We will be in contact about booking Portals to the Past again, maybe for the next academic year.

Barley Close, Gloucs
Thank you so much for a fantastic day Martin. I’m buzzing about it as were the children. It’s a cliché but it really did bring history to life and consolidate all we had already taught them. I’ve e-mailed the link to your website to all of the teachers here recommending you.

Gooseacre, Yorks
Just to say a big thank you for yesterday's workshop- the kids (and adults) loved it and I think it's going to really deepen their learning about Ancient Greece.

St Johns, Herts
Can you please pass on my thanks to Lauren Makin. She came to my school today to deliver an Anglo Saxon workshop. She was absolutely amazing! Her knowledge was fabulous and her control of the children was fantastic. The children (and staff!) thoroughly enjoyed today and learnt so much! Lots of children went home really happy.

We will definitely use your company again for any future history days.

Oswald Road, Manchester
Please can you thank Ian for a fantastic workshop. The children really enjoyed this.

Kingswood Primary Academy, Northants
Eagles class thoroughly enjoyed the experience you provided throughout our topic day. In particular, the comments the children made about the day were "Dom was fun" "Dom made it all very exciting" "Dressing up was fun" "The quiz and puzzle were tricky but good as we were allowed to work together" "I laughed hysterically at the funny myth acting" "I don't usually like drama but this was great".

As a teacher, I appreciated the opportunity to interact and support the children's learning, with another adult leading the session. It brought our Ancient Greek topic to a good level of understanding before finishing the topic. The quiz, puzzle and dressing up resources were excellent as was the well planned variety of activities that kept all pupils engaged for the whole day. We have since made our own Peteia game boards which have proved very popular during rainy break times.

Thank you very much for the provision. I would highly recommend both you personally and your company as a whole. I hope to rebook for next year

Castle Batch, Somerset
Hi Martin

Thank you for a fantastic workshop the children thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

Coppice Prim, Essex
I would just like to say a massive thank you to Ian who came to Coppice today. He was absolutely fantastic and had the kids engaged all day. The day was well run and the Greek games kept the children amused for the time given. He explained everything clearly and I know the children enjoyed having him today. He made the day a success!
Three Peaks Academy, Staffs

Lea Valley Primary, London
I'm emailing to let you know how fantastic our Egyptian day was today! Steve and Sally were absolutely amazing and the children thoroughly enjoyed all of the activities. It was a great way to start our topic and has certainly inspired the children to find out more about life in Ancient Egypt.

The day ran so smoothly - Steve and Sally are obviously well practised in working around busy school schedules and they pitched the delivery of information at just the right level, whilst also catering for our SEN learners and asking deeper questions for our more able.

Thank you for creating such fabulous memories for our children!

I shall certainly be requesting another booking next year!

St Peters, Hixon, Staffs
Just to say a big thank you for organising Dom to come out to us for our Stone Age Day.

It was a fantastic day. Both the children and staff learnt a lot. Dom was very friendly and delivered the workshop in such a way that it kept the whole of Key Stage 2 enraptured the whole day. He was extremely knowledgeable and entertaining and has passed his enthusiasm for the subject on to our children.

We look forward to more workshops in the future.

Beanfield, Northants
We had Lauren Makin to our school today for an Egyptian day to launch our topic. I just wanted to say what a fantastic job she did. The children were fully engaged all day, were laughing and buzzing the whole time. She had such a great manner with the children and it was a fantastic day!

Thank you so much and we hope to invite Lauren back again next year.

St Georges, Shrops
We have recently had the pleasure of Dominic running a Portals to the Past Roman workshop in our school.

As a school, we would just like to say a huge thank you to Dominic – we couldn’t have asked for a better Roman! After using a Portals to the Past workshop last year, we were desperate to get him back into the school and for the children to experience a fantastic day. Dominic’s interaction with the children was outstanding and engaging – he had an excellent balance of humour and knowledge which captured the children’s curiosity and learning. In particular, his approach with children with additional needs.

The running of the day was smooth and well organised. The children were focused and engrossed with all activities provided – they particularly enjoyed the role play activities and the gladiator fight!

We would highly recommend both Portals to the past and Dominic to other schools.

Thank you for a fantastic Roman experience – we will be booking again next year!

Good Shepherd, Notts
I am emailing to tell you how much we enjoyed our Greek day yesterday. The Greek gentleman was extremely entertaining, engaging and captured our children's attention throughout the whole day (not easy with this year group, at times!). It was a great way to finish our topic, bring all of our learning together and reinforce everything they had learnt. I will remember it for a long time to come and am sure they will too. What a great experience.

Fountain Primary, Yorks
On behalf of Year 5, I just wanted to say a huge thank you to Ian for the fantastic workshop he delivered on Monday. The children were so excited and learnt so much, as did the teachers! It has also given some brilliant ideas for ways we can make the rest of the topic more creative and open, which we appreciate. We have already said that we would definitely book again yesterday, and have passed Portals to the Past's details on to other members of staff. The children are now so eager to begin learning more about the Ancient Greeks, thanks to Ian's enthusiasm, and many went home on Monday night to research them further, which is the best feedback you can get. Thank you once again to Ian and to Portals for such an amazing day.